July 30, 1999
* Slogans won't do it
It is great we can talk about Iran so freely, but being away from Iran
and just talking does not help much ["Solidarity"].
I feel that we can make a change, even from outside. Living in the United
States (or other countries abroad), we have the luxury of expressing our
rights to those in power.
However, standing in front of the federal buildings, shouting, holding
billboards, gathering crowds in an unorganized fashion will not explain
Iran's situation nor can anyone watching the charade understand our thoughts.
In fact, it will bring embarrassing images of Iran!
To get help to change Iran, it is important we clean our image first.
In the United States the word "Iran" reads "death to America",
"Terrorism" and "Hostage Takers"! Although there is
a large population of Iranians in the U.S., many of whom are well-established
both academically and professionally, we have yet to bring the truth about
ourselves to the eyes of Americans.
The truth is that majority of people in Iran don't believe in those
hideous words of death to this and that, nor do they hate Americans, nor
do they believe in Islamic tyranny. But they are forced to say and do senseless
acts as I am sure many of you fellow Iranians can relate to.
If other countries see us as violent people, they'll never help us.
It is not easy to clean up the existing image of Iran. But there are more
efficient ways in showing our support for democracy.
It is important that we bring our voices down, structure them, organize
them and give them a perspective. Then we can forward them to the those
in power. Those who can talk for us. They can be anybody, in the media
Wouldn't it look better to be interviewed sitting in front of the camera
in a proper place with a proper attire, than to yell on the streets saying,
"democracy", "Iran", and ...? Wouldn't it be better
to be viewed as a civilized society? Educated? Diplomatic?
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July 29, 1999
* Thanks for Samad
I just finished two translated stories from Samad Behrangi ["Talkhun",
"In search of
fate"]. Both of them were beautiful and I enjoyed them in English
I am originally Iranian, and so proud of the Iranian writers and translators.
The job done was great to my taste. Thanks to The Iranian Times
and all the friends involved. Looking forward to see more.
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* CIA couldn't do it better
This is in response to the gentleman who wrote "Worse
than a dog":
You are absolutely right. The revolution has taken so many young, innocent
lives (the revolution itself, the Iran-Iraq war, MKO executions and so
on), brought our economy to its worst level, destroyed our international
image, paralyzed and rendered useless 50% of our country's workforce (women)
and many other horrible things. I don't think even the CIA could have done
a better job.
Long live the Islamic Revolution!
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July 28, 1999
* Blind faith
Farina Chaudry's letter sounds like someone indoctrinated
to defend the "faith" to the point of being blind. As with Christianity,
many things that became Islamic law did so decades and centuries after
Mohammad died. They were put into law by those who used religion as a conduit
of power to control the masses. It's always been an effective tool for
that. Overtime these laws, many which were derived from the settling of
differences of opinion, became institutionalized and taught to those too
far removed spatially and temporally to understand the basis of these laws.
Were the origins better understood, people might not be so ready to
accept them unquestioningly. Take for example the veiling of women. Originally
this was used within the Persian empire as a way to distinguish upper class
women from those of the lower classes. It conveyed the idea that a woman's
husband was well-off enough financially that his wife did not need to work.
As Muslim Arabs became the new upper class they adopted this practice and
eventually made it into Islamic law.
What is important to note here, however, is that this law was not a
choice given to women. It was forced upon them by men and because of that
it serves as a form of oppression of one sex against the other. There is
nothing in the Quran that supports this as an Islamic practice. And even
if there was, I'd still question it, for in the eyes of God we are all
equal. It is only when we are educated under oppression that this status
gets lost for some. And when that happens we all lose something of ourselves.
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* True conspiracies
Ahmad Ashraf has a very nice interpretation of history. I admire his
interest but what he said in "Conspiracy
theories and the Persian mind" shows his lack of knowledge. The
history of Iran is a fact and far from any myth.
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July 27, 1999
I have been very impressed by the eloquent, thoughtful, and professional
reporting of your correspondent, Soma 007, in Tehran, and more generally
by your coverage of recent events in Iran. Thank you.
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* Groundless assumptions
In response to Farina Yasmin Chaudry: I think that
how a person chooses to express him/herself has no limits, just as freedom
doesn't have limits, and to put a stopper on creativity would result in
the ruin of human civilization as we know it ["The
gun and the gaze"].
We cannot tell each other what to dream, what to think, what to do,
what to write, and what to draw. That is only for the individual to decide,
and not for Anyone to interfere with. If we do this we have violated a
right more sacred than life itself, for if a person does not have freedom
of expression or thought, there is no point to it.
Your assumption that Islam was for the greater good of the female sex
is a groundless one. I seem to remember quite clearly that in the religion
of Islam if a woman is raped she is to be killed to purify her of the dishonor.
There was a case in Pakistan of a woman getting raped by her own brother
and then being killed by her family, for her brother's vice. Also, only
recently was the stoning of women in Iran outlawed.
Under Islamic law, men are given preference over women in divorce, in
inheritences, and in other legal settlements. Also, it is a woman who may
not talk to strangers in public and must cover all of her body at all times.
In short, a woman is only half a man in Islam.
And if you consider Zoroastrians and Jews, who have had such a huge
impact on all religions, including Islam, to be pagan, with a smile on
my face, I suggest you reconsider your comment on burying people in sand.
You also make very general comments giving credit to Islam for giving
more freedom to women. Before the rise of Islam, Minoan women held very
high places in society that would even surprise current day Islamic governments.
That is only one in a long list of civilizations that have held women
in high regard. If you have ever lived in Iran, I cannot even guess how
you can support Islam's stance on the female race, as half of my own family's
women suffer each and every day because of it, and I imagine you would,
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July 26, 1999
* Wishful thinking
I couldn't be more agree with Mr. Hoveyda ["1999
not 1979"] about needing a leader in the recent demonstrations
in Iran. The Los Angeles-based Radio Iran in reply to most of the listners'
comments suggested that people should rise and continue the fight until
the present government is overthrown and then Reza Pahlavi or Banisadr
would step in and take over. Wishful thinking!
As for Mr. Khatami, he reminds me a lot of Mehdi Bazargan whose inability
to govern broght such havoc upon us. Mr. Khatami has betrayed the people
once again by giving nice promisses to his constituents, knowing that he
has no power to fulfil them.
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* Women in Islam
I understand as an artist you have the right to express yourself but
the way that you express yourself should have some limitations. Some of
your art I think is truly poetic and beautiful ["The
gun and the gaze"]. I really do respect your talent. I do however
strongly disagree with how you portray women with rifles and blood.
I can not believe you would portray Islamic women like they were some
type of extremist missionaries. If you knew anything about Islam you would
know that Islam is a religion based upon peace and respect for women. Islam
was the first religion to give women true rights. Before Islam came around
pagans were burying their daughters in the sand. Islam was the first religion
to give women rights. It gave women the right to vote, it gave women the
right to own property. They say heaven is beneath your mothers feet and
the prophet himself told people to treat your mother better than your father.
Islam started from one prophet and is now spread into a religion of
over 1/6th of the world. The prophet himself would listen to the opinions
of women just the same as men. To portray these women like extremists who
are oppressed is disgusting and appalling. Who are you to display women
in chador like they're extremists? I myself wear the hijab and have grown
up in the U.S. Not a day goes by that at one time or another I don't feel
uncomfortable, because some person is starting at me like I'm a terrorists.
Do you know why they look at me like I'm crazy and oppressed? Because of
people like you who give women in Islam a bad name.
I am not oppressed, I have chosen to wear the hijab and am proud of
myself every day because of this choice. Islam is the fastest growing religion
in the world, including the U.S., and three times as many women convert
than men because of the rights Islam gives women. It is people like you
who allow people to dwell in their ignorance of how Islam is the "terrorist"
I'm not trying to in any way shape or form tell you that you should
be a Muslim or tell you that your faith is wrong. What I am trying to tell
you is that just as a human being you should try to make an effort to understand
other people's religion and to respect them out of humanity. You stereotype
these women into terrorists.
I'm a Muslim and come from a Middle Eastern country and in fact I'm
happy, my parents treat me extremely lovingly and treat each other the
same. My father has never even raised his hand or voice to my mother. I'm
educated and I've never ever held a gun in my hand. So where you get your
examples of Muslim women e from, I don't know. But what I do know is that
your pictures are offensive, insinuating, degrading and just plain disgusting.
To think that God wasted talent on someone like you when he could have
given it to one of the women in your photographs who could be photographing
Farina Yasmin Chaudry
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July 23, 1999
Allow me to express my utmost disappointment in the unfortunate remarks
cointained in the poem "History
of Iran"which clearly crosses the logical and moral (if not legal)
borders of discrimination and negative stereo-typing.
Iranians, one of the primary victims of the same type of prejudice in
the west, should choose to become the new flag bearers of equality and
the forerunners of an end to such practices. Although it is very common
within our culture to abuse and stereo-type other nationalities and cultures,
one expects that our intellectuals and media such as the new electronic
form of it (The Iranian), stay away from the kind of conduct that
in the short and long term will be harmful to our own community.
After all, if we start stereo-typing other cultures and races ("Cuz
when Arabs invaded, not too many fought. They handed our country to men
who were no wizards. For fine dining experience, they mostly ate lizards.")
then we are opening the doors and in fact approving stereo-typing of ourselves
by those who consider us "no wizards" or "violent"
or "terrorist" or ...
Canadian Iranian Centre for Liberty & Equality
Suite #105 120 Sheppard Ave.
East Toronto, ON M2N 3A4
Tel (416) 218-0552
Fax (416) 218-0556
Email: [email protected]
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July 22, 1999
* Their turn
As a member of the Iranian diasporic community I am thrilled as to the
recent events that have gone on in Iran. Although I personally feel that
Khatami himself is first and foremost still a Muslim cleric, he is probably
the country's only hope.
I am waiting for the day when there will be no Islamic state in Iran.
A day when we can actually rid ourselves of the Arab influence in our country.
Islam invaded Iran, and although we mostly contribute imperialism to the
English, Islam has it's own imperialism and Iran is a perfect example of
The clerical government would like to see an end to Noruz celebrations
as well, because it is not an Islamic holiday.
I urge all members of the diasporic Iranian/Persian community to do
whatever they can to show their support for the people of Iran who want
change; the clerical government has run Iran into the ground and the same
people that were chanting "Down with the Shah" have realized
that they have implemented monsters in his place.
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* Religion prevents unity
In response to the moderate, practicing Muslim I
must say I disagree on the fact that we can't teach culture without religion.
Religion is one of the many things that keeps Iranians from being united,
and that is one of the biggest problems in Iranian society today.
I have no problem with religion and do not seek to detract from it.
But if Iranian culture is to be preserved, we must look to other aspects
of our society as well. As an Iranian agnostic, I am fiercely proud of
my culture and the accomplishments and history of our country and people.
I was not raised to believe in Allah, or Ahura Mazda, or Baha U'ollah.
Rather, instead of being a servant of Islam or what have you, I listened
to the stories of our founding forefathers like Cyrus and Darius, in addition
to our heroes, from Rostam to Ferdowsi to Takhti.
If anything, we need to start teaching the more unbiased parts of our
culture, that don't focus on a specific religion or belief. We need to
put our prejudices aside and simply be proud of being Iranian.
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July 21, 1999
* Moderate, practicing Muslim
I enjoyed reading "After
all, I am Iranian" and found it refreshing that people my age
are learning about Iranian culture and traditions. However, if I may add
my own opinion, being Iranian does not only center around one's customs,
traditions, or even language.
I have great respect for those Iranians who are Jewish and Christian.
They have kept their respective faiths. I have had a chance to attended
to Iranian-Jewish celebrations and learn more about the Jewish faith. They
are proud of who they are and are happy to share their religion to others
who want to be educated.
As a moderate, practicing Muslim, I find it utterly shameful that we
Iranian Muslims cannot be proud of our faith. We don't need to be extremist
or even yield to one dogma. As a moderate Muslim, I wear my hijab in the
masjid, AND THAT''S IT. I am like a typical American girl outside and enjoy
the freedoms of being the first born Iranian-American in this great country.
Yet, I feel that as a Iranian-American, we have become too shallow,
only observing our culture and forgetting about religion. There are many
Iranian-Americans Muslims that don't know a thing about their faith and
believe themselves to be Christian or even agnostic. It is sad when one
comes across these individuals.
That is why I stress that it is important for Iranians, whether Jewish,
Christian, Zorastrian or Muslim to teach their children about religion
and culture together. For example, Iranians gave the Islamic world many
great scientific, artistic, and cultural traditions that have helped shape
our traditions. You cannot teach culture without religion.
In closing, I want to thank Ms. Jalalipour for her essay. Your a smart,
intelligent young lady that has a great future ahead of you.
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Soma's reports from Tehran are great and being special the The Iranian
Times is excellent. Putting out the "Extra"s are very timely
and the stance of The Iranian Times in relation to recent events
has been clear and admirable. Your role, nowadays, is more important than
ever and I'm glad for you and my favorite publication.
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July 20, 1999
* Amazing American politicians
I agree with Ramin Abhari (The Iranian Times,
July 19). We should support Khatami. In its issue of July 8, the Washington
Post saw it fit to stage yet another attack on Khatami ('More Mullah
than Moderate' by 'a former CIA specialist'). I wrote a letter of protest
to the editor which was not published.
There seems to be a confluence of interests among some right-wing politicians
in the congress, the Israeli government (although that might be changing),
the MKO and hard-liners in Iran to put an end to Khatami's courageous initiatives.
It is truly amazing that, in the U.S., the MKO can manage to present
itself as a serious alternative to the exisitng Iranian regime and claim
the backing of more than a hundred American congreessmen.
I know American politicians are not the shrewdest people on earth when
it come to foreign policy and history. But they wield enormous power. So
do such mainstream media players sucb as the Washington Post.
Do we want the future of our homeland be dictated by the most vociferous,
once again? Have we learned anything from history? I don't know what to
do or how to do it. But at least we can devote some time and effort to
thinking about it.
San Jose, California
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* The way it was
I think it is about time that Iranians stood up against oppression and
unjust laws. Although, I think that what happened was not enough. I was
born in Tehran and now live in Virginia.
I would like to see the day when Iran returns to the way it was under
the Shah, so that there will be peace, and that maybe, just maybe, we could
all go back and relive our lost lives.
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* Twin demons
I have spent enough time in Iran recently to grasp the following: The
twin demons affecting this very interesting country are the 4% per annum
population growth from early in the Islamic Republic's tenure and the lack
of water resources.
These two impediments to growth are, of course, intertwined. The Iranian
dovernment must effectively deal with them - and stop looking for external
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July 19, 1999
* Khatami only hope
I can't help thinking that another opportunity for forwarding the cause
of liberalization in Iran was lost last week ["Now
what?"]. The roughing of peaceful student protestors and trashing
of their dormatories, was a big embarassment for the hard-line establishment.
It could have had led to a major purge, having followed the assassination
of writers few months earlier.
Now with the rioting and Mojahedeen Khalq's statements of support, it
would be masterful if Khatami could prevent this from becoming a major
setback. Why doesn't the opposition realize that they have no leadership
and that Khatami is the only hope for Iran out of this darkness?
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* Last desperate stab
Political science data advisable for democratization in Eastern Europe
and South America strongly suggest that the success of a democratic transition
is linked to the involvement of soft-liners (Mohammad Khatami) in the authoritarian
Lynn Karl and Phillippe Schmitter (1991) found that when authoritarian
regimes conducted their own democratization they were much more likely
to succeed. However, even when the regime itself is conducting the democratization
it can be subject to internal coups. Hard-liners often take one last desperate
stab at reasserting themselves (e.g. USSR--Genady Yeniev vs. Mikhail Gorbachev).
However, if Khatami's power base is stable, it is already too late for
a hard-liner coup to succeed. It seems that the real threat to Iran's democratization
process are the students and Iran's neighbors. The Karl and Schmitter (1991)
data suggests that if the protesters take over the reform process a future
Iranian democratic regime's actual chances for success will be diminished.
As for Iran's neighbors, Mark Gasiorowski (1995) ["Now
what?"] found a direct link between the number of democratic neighbors
a democratizing regime has and its chances of success. Iran is in real
trouble in this regard! Talk about an island in a sea of dictatorships.
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* Worse than a dog
You guys are worse than a dog. Long live the Islamic revolution.
July 16, 1999
* Disaster for IRI
It is obvious from the latest decree by President Khatami in Iran, that
he will crush further protests.... This of course would mean disaster for
the government officials, Khatami included, who have continuously failed
to provide the Iranian people with a satisfactory economic, social, and
political freedom that they deserve; and let us not forget, this is the
freedom that they were promised in the 1979 revolution (by Khomeini and
his clerical and intellectual supporters) and caused the uprooting of a
2500 year old monarchy in Iran.
However, from day one Khomeini and his clerical staff did their utmost
to bring about more limitations instead of freedom, and to ensure their
success created an environment of fear to rule the country, arresting those
tied to the previous government and the intellectual faction of the revolutionary
force, carrying out thousands of executions, and causing the self-imposed
exile of millions of Iranians in the past 20 years ... FULL
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July 15, 1999
* Two steps back
We are born as Iranians not by our own choice. However what we do as
Iranians is (our choice). As much as we are proud of our culture, let us
make sure by our deeds and not rhetoric about the past, we preserve what
we have inherited. How great is Iran depends on how Iranians present it.
With all the events going on in Iran these days it seem we are in competition
with the Taleban ["The
spark"]. The policy of one step forward, two steps back, leaves
us with losing even what we had. And losing lives is always backward, specially
when the subject is: "FREEDOM TO EXPRESS".
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* Helping MKO types
I wrote this to a friend:
A couple of months ago I mentioned to you that the kind of policies
stubbornly persued by the government of Iran in denying the moderates and
liberal nationalist forces any opportunity will only help radical movements
and the Mojahedin Khalq types. Although you noted that the MKO was the
best organized and had more supporters than other group in Sweden, you
indicated that you considered them as traitors. My statement was not based
on any affection for them. In fact, they are one of my least favorites,
together with some of the former Tudeh Party members who are trying to
penetrate the National Front and gain a foothold in its leadership ostensibly
on the ground of being its recent converts.
But I have learned to rely on my knowledge, limited though it may be,
rather than my wishes and desires in the face of what seems the probable
consequences of empirical developments. Today , finally, clearly and in
spite of protestations to the contrary, the police and Ansar Hezbollah
have together attacked the students in the university and dormitories after
the statement by the National Security Council, presided over by Khatami,
that if the student do not have permit from authorities (the same police
and intelligence agents that we have known) they would be arrested.
Perhaps President Khatami thought that he had no other choice in the
circumstances, and I certainly wish him the best since he may still be
the last hope for a relatively peaceful transition to a more tolerable
political system in Iran.
Incidentally, I have never criticized him openly and have urged other
nationalists and moderates who may pay any attention to me not to do so
either. But his present position and predicament and the students' mood
may result in their further alienation and tendency toward radicalism and
support for the likes of the MKO.
I still hope otherwise and think that there may be time to take some
meaningful remedial steps. But they require courage and a significant amount
of risk taking.
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* Who's there to lead?
Question is, does the West want to remove the Islamic Republic? Would
they gain by removing them? And if they do, who is to replace them? Few
hundred or thousand student demonstrators could not do anything if they
don't have any support behind them. Is there anyone to lead them?
We should not expect a revoluion or a change with six days of riots,
if no one is there for them, to lead them to organize them. Today is not
1978. The Shah had to go and they brought Khomeini out of nowhere, and
made him a god. A man who could not even speak proper Farsi and all his
sentences were backwards just like his regime, became a supreme leader
and god of the Iranians, and removed the Shah with all that power.
I never heard of Khomeini before, and just few months before the change
of the monarchy in Iran I got to hear about him from the media. Who is
there to lead now? None of the Iranian high officials in exile have stepped
forward to say anything about what has happened in the last few days.
The only one who spoke was Reza Pahlavi and all he said was that he
does not like to see another whatever-square in China and that he does
not like to see bloodshed Iran. For the past 20 years, all we have seen
in Iran is bloodshed and torture. Well, There are so much that one can
say, but I guess it is enough for now. I was just wondering who is there
to lead Iranian people.
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July 14, 1999
* Will civil society grow?
It is hard at this stage to predict the outcome of these recent events
pain"]. This is only the most recent culmination of democratic
efforts against the clergy (a battle with over 150+ years of recorded and
bloody history) that begun long before the recent revolution of 1979 and
has accelerated since Khomeini's death.
In reality the Shah and his father were a "comprise" between
religious autocracy and democratic rule. Their dynasty was a synthesis
of the forces that polarized the society during the Constitutional Movement.
The Pahlavi's were autocratic and although non-secular but relatively non-religious.
Their time represented a set back for both the clergy and the democratic
For now the "reformist" President Khatami symbolizes the "compromise",
and he has "urged the students to allow law and order to be established."
Khatami a cleric (all be it reformist) precariously has to find the means
of "reform" within the dogma and clerical establishment that
abhors civil society. His goals are ambiguous and will wear thin. Either
he will take sides or will fail on both fronts just as Gorbachev did in
trying clerical theocracy.
The question for him is the same for many devout Muslims who have one
way or another accepted the realities of change and human development.
Will a reformed Islam emerge and realize Khatami's personal and conflicting
"dream" - the one he is attributed to by friends and foes - the
secular clergy? Islam's history has been cruel to these "heretics",
and Khatami may choose not join their ranks and opt for the "rule
The question for the rest of us is: Will the language, culture and politics
of tolerance (not compromise) and the effort to define civil society in
the context of Iran grow (and perhaps prevail) in this round? Or will our
society swing from one extreme to the next? One way or another - even if
these recent events do not translate into the significant change we all
hope for - they will pave the way towards that goal.
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I feel so helpless as I read the news about the Iranian students ["Great
pain"]. I was only nine years old during the Islamic revolution,
and now I feel the desperate need to be back in my homeland and take part
in what is happening. I have read article after article, listened to the
news, but still feel pretty restless. I don't know how other Iranians feel,
but I will keep all the hamvatans in my heart.
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July 13, 1999
* Aafarin to the Iranian students
I have nothing but admiration for the students in Iran ["The spark"].
They stood up to the authorities and showed that whatever the regime does,
it can not violate the sanctity of university facilities. Students are
a very powerful sector of any society, specially in countries where campuses
are not the place for big drinking parties and scenes of sexual escapades.
Universities in such countries are places for fervors of intellect and
political idealism to bloom. Students are generally hot headed, emotional
and idealist. They are at an age that because of their proven intellects,
they feel they have the power to do anything and stop any violation of
their beliefs ... FULL
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* Time for a change
I think its horrible what these students are going through ["The
spark"]. I don't understand how a government can be so stupid
as to ban rallies that they don't "approve of."
I think living in a democracy we take for granted our rights to peacefully
protest that which we seek to change or simply as a means of expressing
I hope more protests sprout in the near future around Iran to show the
dimwit government that others too hold a similar belief on the issue of
the free press and freedom to protest.
I know I will do my part by joining demonstrations here [in the U.S.].
I hope you will do the same because I know it is time for a change
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July 12, 1999
* Embrace global community
The writer of this article speaks of one losing their Iranian identity
as though that would be such a tragedy ["After
all, I am Iranian"]!
When I look at the Iranian community all I see is a people obsessed
with appearance and intolerant of diversity. What few things there are
to be proud of, such as the Persian empire, date back a good 2000.
It is time for Iranians to let down their guard and embrace the global
community. Maybe then we could have new things to be proud of.
And for their readers who are gonna be writing to me criticizing my
parents for not bringing me up in an Iranian environment, let me just say
that I grew up in Iran, not America.
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* Still Iranian
I was going through The Iranian and I read "After
all, I am Iranian". It was writen so nicely and true.
Even though I have only been in the U.S. five years I have grown so
much in here. I don't dare call myself Iranian American cuz I am still
an Iranian. I feel the same pride
It was so obvious that my roomate this past year called me a complete
nationalist. He was telling me how I get so excited about every other news
or event about Iran.
I guess we all have that pride in us that no one has the power to take
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July 9, 1999
* Khaaleh & Khaalu
In reference to the quote of the day on July 7th (Khaalam agar reesh
daasht daaeem meeshod = If my aunt had a beard she would be my uncle),
this is not really how the saying goes. The original is this: "Khaalam
agar khaayeh daasht khaalu meeshod" (If my aunt had balls, she would
be my uncle.). Note the repeated use of "kh" beginning.
Hossein B. Zadeh
Reply from the author of "1001
Persian-English Proverbs": Yes, you are right, that is another
way of saying it and maybe the original one.
In the first edition I had some proverbs such as: "Aadam-e beekar
javaldouz beh kha.. khod meezanad" or "Bad bakhty keh baaz aayad
g... vaghte namaz aayad", "G... beh shagheegheh che rabti daareh?"
and some others.
A few people called me and said their children read this book and these
words should not be there. Since I wanted the kids be able to use the book,
I decided not to use some or use the polite version of them in the second
edition. Thanks for noticing.
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* We have you...
Good job. I really enjoyed reading your articles specially one about
the root of the words ["Khiyaar
chambar"]. Some of them are silly, but the rest was marvelous.
I agree: I mean why should we hang on to our past to say we are someone
and have this and that kind of culture?As long as we, ourselves, don't
believe in who we are those words are worth nothing.
We have you -- and more sophisticated than that -- we still have writers
like Hooshang Moshiri whose writings put Faulkner to rest! Thanks for the
work and keep it up. You have our support.
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July 8, 1999
* Most important Iranian
Shamlu is one of the most important people in Iran and The Iranian
Times never talked about him until few days ago ["Shamlu"].
Shamlu dose not need it, but we need to talk about him for the sake of
Iran's young generation.
Shamlu is and has been a great poet, human rights fighter, political
activist, writer and a follower of the independent left. I wish him speedy
recovery. I think it is time for our children to know about Shamlu and
scholars like Karimi-Hakak in the U.S. or Shams Langaroudi in Iran tshould
teach our new generation about this great Iranian treasure.
We sang his poetry when we were kids without knowing his name. Remember
"Khorshid khanom" and "Barun miyad ... "?
At least five generations of Iranians were influenced by his poetry.
We all remember "Jom e haa" by Farhad.. And of course we should
mention his great book "Ketab e kucheh". Let's dicover Shamlu
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* Horrors for posterity
In reference to "Palm
trees survive", for a moving tribute to the defense of Khorramshahr,
I recommend reading the poem "Benevees, Benevees, Benevees" (Record,
record, record) by Simin Behbahani, in her collection of poems titled "khattee
zeh soraat va az aatash".
This should also be in the translation of Mrs. Behbahani's work "Selected
Poems" published by Syracuse University Press (Ms F. Milani and Mr.
The scars of war, along with those who suffered its terrors, will fade;
but Simin Behbahani's several poems on the war have recorded the horrors
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July 7, 1999
* Cheh goli kaashtim?
Yes, I want to know why we are so prejudiced towards Jews, Bahai, gays,
Blacks, Arabs...? ["I
must be a Jew"] I live in France with cultivated and "intellectual"
Iranians. But I have a lot of arguments about their racism. I always say
:"haalaa maa baa een enghelaabemun cheh goli kaashtim keh khodemuno
az Arabhaa behtar bedunim?"
And specially now with the recent news about the arrest of the Jews
who are accused of spying... I was so shocked that I had a nightmare. I
dreamt that they were hanged in public and I screamed and shouted "let
them go!". Hopefully young Iranians who go to public schools in France
will be less prejudiced because of the presence of students from Arab countries.
But at the same time I believe that in Middle Eastern countries, racism
was rarely violent. Racism has surfaced only in words not in acts like
in European countries. In Iran nobody was beaten by people because of his
race or religion. The Persian term "bandeye khodaa" means "we
are all equal" and Iranians use that term a lot.
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* The movie?
Thank you for an enchanting and marvelous piece. An L.A.
Wedding: The Movie?
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July 6, 1999
* My little daughter
I live in Iran . When I read your article I cried ["After
all, I am Iranian"]. I am not fluent in English but I can feel
what you are saying.
In two months I will fly to Canada. I think about my little daughter
and her culture all the time. I think about the possibility that she will
forget her Farsi and never be able to enjoy a Persian poem and maybe she
would not understand who we are.
I hope that we can be Iranian and never forget our history.
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I know this is probably a late letter, but I just finished reading Hamid
Taghavi's feature "L.A.
wedding". Several words come to mind: BRILLIANT! HILARIOUS!
I laud Mr. Taghavi and hope to read more of his works soon. Thank you
also to The Iranian.
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July 5, 1999
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July 2, 1999
* Word roots
About the "Khiyaar
Chambar" article, I don't know if the authors of the piece were
serious or not, because some of the word roots were pretty ridiculuous.
If they were serious in thinking that all those words have Persian roots,
then I think I have to make some points.
Some of the words mentioned have Persian roots, but a great many are
not Persian, but Indo-Iranian. For instance Chemistry actually comes from
Al-chemy which comes from "Al Kimiyaa." Daughter is not actually
dokhtar nor father is pedar and so on. They all come from a similar Indo-European
root. So, daughter is not a derivative of dokhtar, rather they both are
a derivative of dogtir ... FULL
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Ms. Jalalipour makes a very astute observation ["After
all, I am Iranian"]. Kudos to her parents for providing the environment
to raise such a daughter. Kudos to Shima for being such a decent human
being. Good luck to Shima, and others like her, in all her future endeavors.
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July 1, 1999
* Sincerest apologies
A recent letter
that I had sent to The Iranian Times in which I had wrongly
made derogatory remarks about Iranians elicited quite a few furious responses
both sent to me personally and posted to The Iranian Times letters
I feel deeply sorry that I had caused distress for so many individuals
whom, from what I can tell -- from the letters I received -- did not deserve
My comments about Iranians in general were definitely uncalled for.
I beg of all whom I may have offended to please accept my sincerest apologies.
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* Bayzaie deserves better
It was so great to have an article about Bahram Bayzaie in The Iranian
drifter"]. Iranian modern art owes a lot to this writer, stage
theater director and filmmaker.
However I don't have the same feeling about the article. The article
seems to be more about the writer's emotional responses to Bayzaie's movies
and his geographic locations while watching the movies than about Bayzaie.
One of the characteristics of Bayzaie's films is the lack of exaggerated
emotional expressions and sentimentalism even when he is dealing with subjects
such as love and death. It is very reasonable to consider the same fundamentals
when writing about Bayzaie.
Also I wish there were more explanations to back up the writer's interpretations.
As an example I can't understand what " Shaayad Vaghti Deegar"
has to do with life and death, which is supposed to be the main theme for
the other movie "Mosaaferaan". Bayzaie deserves more than that.
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